Second Regional Conference on Connectivity for All: Future Technologies, Markets and Regulation
This conference organized by the International Telecommunications Society, IIMA IDEA Telecom Centre of Excellence and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad was held in New Delhi from December 13 to 15, 2015. Sunil Abraham was a panelist in the session "Going beyond Cybersecurity: Internet Governance Issues".
The wide availability of Internet/broadband has been a significant driver of economic growth especially in developed countries. On the contrary, emerging economies lag far behind in Internet/broadband penetration even in urban areas. Further, as emerging economies have poor infrastructure as well as physical service deployment platforms, higher penetration of Internet/broadband could serve as an effective platform for social programmes' delivery. However, the increasing gap in penetration, speed and adoption of Internet/broadband between developed and emerging economies is likely to reduce the ability of the latter to participate in an equitable way in the global knowledge and service economy. As the gap increases, the ability of emerging economies to bridge the digital divide becomes more significantly daunting and is a major cause of concern for policymakers.
The challenges for connectivity in the developed and emerging economies are diverse. While developed countries face issues in providing higher speeds, bandwidth and connectivity among devices to large parts of their population who have basic Internet/broadband, emerging economies still struggle for establishing universal access and providing basic Internet/broadband to their citizens. Even where Internet/broadband is available, adoption may not be adequate especially in the rural and remote areas.
The wired infrastructure in emerging economies is poor, however, the mobile phones are ubiquitous. Therefore, mobile Internet/broadband could be an effective way for increasing Internet/broadband penetration. Technological and regulatory changes, especially those related to spectrum, are necessary to leverage these opportunities.
A related aspect of growth in Internet/broadband is the increasing role of Internet governance frameworks at national, regional and international levels. The challenge for nations is how to leverage this framework for growth of Internet/broadband and play a greater role in Internet governance.
A multi-pronged approach is required to address these diverse issues. A supportive environment for policy, regulatory and technology development is required. This conference provides a platform for dialogue between researchers, industry practitioners, government and regulatory bodies to search for collaborative solutions.